On September 27, Kyiv hosted the first international forum on humanitarian demining in Ukraine – Demine Ukraine Forum. The forum was organized by the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine and Kyiv School of Economics. The Demine Ukraine Forum was supported by partners Kyivstar and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine.
The forum was opened by the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal, First Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine Yulia Svyrydenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Ukraine Kuninori Matsuda and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to Ukraine Bridget Brink. The panel discussions were attended by representatives of the Cabinet of Ministers and other government agencies, embassies of donor countries, the agricultural sector, as well as mine action operators and domestic manufacturers of demining equipment.
Yulia Svyrydenko emphasized that in order to ensure quick and effective demining of Ukrainian territories, the Government will stimulate the development of innovations, promote the production of domestic demining machines and expand the localization of foreign equipment production in Ukraine.
“Humanitarian demining is more than just the removal of mines or other explosive devices. It is about restoring our economy and country. Mine clearance is an important step towards returning normal life to the de-occupied territories. We will support our own manufacturers of machinery and equipment and encourage startups. I am convinced that we will be able not only to find modern solutions to this critical problem, but also to export our technologies,” the head of the Ministry of Economy said.
Valentyna Sakhno, Head of KSE Graduate Business School, during the third panel dedicated to the development of technologies for finding and defusing explosive ordnance, said that the Ministry of Economy together with the Kyiv School of Economics are working to launch a program to support innovators who will develop technologies in the field of demining. Valentyna Sakhno noted that the program for innovators will include three components.
“The first component is technological. Developers will have the opportunity to improve their products through testing at training grounds and mentoring support from industry experts. The second component is commercialization. We will help companies launch mass production of innovative products and enter the market. And the third component of the program is to attract additional funding to help teams develop startups,” said the head of KSE Graduate Business School.
The program to support innovators will soon be announced to the public, said Valentyna Sakhno. According to her, the emergence of a relevant platform will facilitate the search for new technological solutions in the field of demining.
“We need to involve developers who already exist in Ukraine in demining processes. Creating a space for innovators, students who develop solutions for mine detection and clearance, will help them test their ideas, grow, interact and find financial support,” summarized the head of KSE Graduate Business School.